Reflecting on 2023: Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Since its inception in 2013 Sol Plaatje University has developed into a forward looking, ambitious and vibrant institution.  The contents in our latest newsletter is testament to an energized culture in which staff, students and graduates are engaged, motivated, and committed to what they are doing and achieving.

In its first decade SPU has shown impressive growth, but we can sometimes lose sight of our many achievements, so take a moment and reflect on some of our highlights:

  • We have grown from 124 students in 2014 to 4463 in 2023,
  • A staff complement which began with one person in 2013 grew to just over 600 in 2023,
  • Our academic offering that began with three qualifications in 2014 now covers the full suite of qualifications for a comprehensive university,
  • Our new, sprawling infrastructure encompasses three campuses across the city of Kimberley,
  • We are lauded for our exemplary governance,
  • We have put in place a robust financial sustainability strategy,
  • In terms of the performance of quantile 1 to 3 learners, SPU outperformed all universities in the sector,
  • We are significantly expanding our research footprint through four new centres which were launched since 2021: Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre, Centre for Applied Data Science, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Research, Centre for Creative Writing and African Languages,
  • We took over the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Rapid Development in Upington, from VUT, thereby expanding our presence in the province,
  • We created a short course platform through the Centre for Continuous Professional Development,
  • We are becoming a 21st century, digitally enhanced institution,
  • We are expanding access to higher education for academic talented learners in the Northern Cape through the Talent Pipeline Programme,
  • Our partnerships have grown significantly since 2020,
  • And we are ranked among the top 10 coolest universities in South Africa, which talks to our broad appeal and strong brand resonance across the country.

We have much to be proud about at SPU.

As we begin planning for our next strategic cycle it is imperative that we maintain the momentum we have built up and that we continue to strive for excellence in everything that we do at and for the institution.  The next phase will see us expanding into therapeutic health sciences, agriculture, geology and we will develop new research themes such as Desert Studies. We must bolster our community engagement so that it is a scholarly endeavour, which talks to our vision of being a university critically engaged in learning, research and development – while enhancing democratic practice and social justice in society.

Thank you for your efforts in 2023 which saw us achieve 85% of our strategic objectives. I am certain that we will continue this trajectory in 2024.

Have a safe, restful and happy holiday season.

Professor Andrew M Crouch

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